They say never to meet your heroes — they never live up to your expectations.
Well, the Visconti London Fog limited edition has been one of my pen heroes since it was released a couple of years ago. The swirly grey and blue just did it for me in a way that the red Chiantishire, green Florentine Hills and Jade, and other limited editions just didn’t.
I read all the reviews, I drooled all over Instagram, I hesitated and missed out on chances to buy it from European dealers and I eventually resigned myself to treating it as the “one that got away”. It was to be forever the supercar on my teenage bedroom wall, out of reach.
Then I bought one. From Australia, for an absurd amount of money.
The waiting was awful. I hit ‘refresh’ on the UPS tracking screen every ten minutes for about five days, as my package went on a tour of Asia and Europe. Then it arrived, I squealed, then took a deep breath and braced myself for disappointment.
I wasn’t coming to the London Fog completely cold. I’d handled one (thanks Dave). I already owned a Homo Sapiens Steel Age model, and a resin-style Visconti (the Wall St LE).
But Visconti nibs are each individual, QC is questionable, and the patterns of the London Fog barrel vary dramatically.
Would I win the lottery? Or would such an expensive pen, anticipated for so long, bring on an epic case of buyer’s remorse?
Actually, no. Not in the slightest.
The barrel pattern I got is awesome.
The fit and finish, the build quality, is perfect. No rough edges, scratches, gaps or misalignments. The filled enamel clip is flawless.
The vac filler works great.
The nib is sublime — a true wet medium, and a good middle ground between my other Viscontis.
The chattoyance in the solid plastics of the section, cap and filler knob is glorious.
And, as expected, the size and weight is just right for me. My lava Homo Sapiens is one of my most comfortable pens. The London Fog has decent heft.
I really had to close my eyes when hitting the ‘buy’ button on this pen (and not a little alcohol was involved too — Dutch courage). I was ready for that sinking feeling — perhaps I wouldn’t like the way it looked in person, it would leak, or it would simply not write well. I’ve had cheaper pens fall foul of all those problems, and ordering an out-of-production pen from Australia doesn’t bode well for the easiest returns procedure.
But for once, my luck really held. I’ve been writing with the London Fog all week and it’s been utterly, truly perfect. Of 888 examples made, I’ve got one.
And it’s sitting pretty in my Penvelope.
Sometimes, you meet your heroes and they’re even better than you expect. And if you have a chance to get that grail pen (particularly a limited edition) — what the hell, take it.